1985, California Rules of Court, rule 76.5 (now rule 8.300) was promulgated.
Rule 8.300 authorizes an appellate court to contract with an
administrator for the purpose of assigning and evaluating
appointed counsel in indigent appeals. Pursuant to rule 8.300,
the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) enters yearly
contracts with the administrators chosen to work with the
various appellate courts.
The appointed counsel program was established in the Sixth
District shortly after the courtís inception in November,
1984. The first administrator was the Santa Clara County Conflicts
Administration Program, directed by Phillip Pennypacker. The
Appellate Division of Conflicts Administration Program began
in April, 1985, staffed by attorneys Michael Kresser, Deanna
Lamb, and Manuel Baglanis. In March, 1986, Dallas Sacher joined
Effective July 1, 1988, a new nonprofit corporation, the Sixth
District Appellate Program (SDAP) with Michael Kresser as
executive director, took over the contract for the Sixth District.
The staff of Conflicts Appellate Division became employees
SDAP is governed by a seven person Board of Directors whose
members are selected in consultation with the four county
bar associations in the Sixth District: Monterey, San Benito,
Santa Clara and Santa Cruz. From 1988 to 1998, appellate specialist
Gerald Z. Marer of Palo Alto was the Chair of the Board. Michele
Vague of Santa Cruz, an original member of the Board, assumed
the Chair following Mr. Marerís retirement, and served as Chair until May 2007. Russell Hanlon, a civil appellate specialist in San Jose, succceeded her as Chair until 2015. Former Executive Director Michael Kresser was elected Chair in 2015. Professor Ed Steinman of Santa Clara Law School is Chief Financial Officer. Rickey Green, an attorney who concentrates in corporate and tax law, is Secretary. Other board members are Frank Dice of Salinas, Wendy Kim of Santa Clara, Juliet Peck of Salinas, and Stephen LaBerge of Santa Cruz. All are veteran criminal defense trial attorneys. Professor Gerald
Uelmen of the Santa Clara School of Law was Chief Financial
Officer from 1988 to 2006 when he resigned upon becoming Executive Director of the California Commission on the Fair Adminstration of Justice.
SDAPís attitude toward the representation of indigents is
that expressed in Von Moltke v. Gillies (1948) 332 U.S. 708:
ďUndivided allegiance and faithful, devoted service to a client
are prized traditions of the American lawyer. It is this kind
of service for which the Sixth Amendment makes provision.
And nowhere is this service deemed more honorable than in
case of appointment to represent an accused too poor to hire
a lawyer, even though the accused may be a member of an unpopular
or hated group, or may be charged with an offense which is
peculiarly abhorrent.Ē (Id., at pp. 725-726, fn. omitted.)
DALLAS SACHER became SDAPís Executive Director in May 2012.
He graduated from Santa Clara Law School in 1981. Dallas worked
as a staff attorney for Presiding Justice George Brown of
the Fifth District Court of Appeal from 1982 to 1983. After
a stint at an LA firm, Dallas moved north and began a private
appellate practice. He joined SDAPís predecessor, the Conflicts
Administration Program as a staff attorney in 1986. Recent litigation success include obtaining an OSC by order of the California Supreme Court, and then representing his client at the subsequent evidentiary hearing in superior court, where he got one of two convictions set aside due to IAC. His client was then resentenced from 25 years to life to six years and released. (In re Magnan, S133572.) He also obtained federal habeas relief after an evidentiary hearing on the ground that trial counsel's advice to plead guilty in a Three Strikes case constituted ineffective assistance of counsel. (Pakes v. Yates, C04-5294 VRW.)
WILLIAM M. ROBINSON is SDAP's Assistant Director. He is a 1980 graduate of UC Davis Law School. Bill has been a criminal defense lawyer ever since. He has won numerous appellate cases including People v. Mendoza (1998) 18 Cal.4th 1114, People v. Gangemi (1993) 13 Cal.App.4th 1790, People v. Garcia (1987) 195 Cal.App.3d 191 and People v. Fuller (1982) 136 Cal.App.3d 403. Bill joined the SDAP staff in 1998 and was SDAP's faculty member at the inaugural Appellate Advocacy College in 2000. His most recent success was obtaining a full reversal of multiple convictions, including attempted murder with gun use and gang enhancements, carrying a 40 year to life sentence in People v. Blancarte, H026676. He also obtained federal relief for a client who had been convicted of murder, concluding a 13 year odyssey which included trips to the California Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
LORI QUICK graduated from the University of San Francisco
School of Law in 1990. Between 1990 and 1992, she was a Deputy
Public Defender in Marin County. In 1992, Lori joined the
Public Defenderís Office in Santa Cruz. Lori became a SDAP
staff attorney in 1996. Lori recently obtained a grant of habeas corpus from the Ninth Circuit for a Three Strikes client due to instructional error concerning use of domestic violence propensity evidence (Acosta v. Lewis, 04-17017) and obtained a full reversal of multiple sex offense convictions and resulting 162 year to life sentence in People v. Ojeda, H029199.
PAUL COUENHOVEN graduated from Wayne State University
Law School in 1983. He clerked for U.S. District Court Judge
Avern Cohn in Detroit for two years. He came to California
and worked for Patrick Hallinan before joining the Alameda
County Public Defenderís office in 1987. In 1989, he began
his practice as a panel attorney, eventually joining all five
project panels and doing capital appellate defense. He joined
the SDAP staff in 1997. Paul's recent victories include People v. Hofsheier (2006) 37 Cal.4th 1185 [equal protection violation to make sex offender registration mandatory for unlawful oral copulation but optional for unlawful sexual intercourse].
JONATHAN GROSSMAN is a graduate of Hastings
College of Law. Jonathan worked as a Deputy Public Defender
in San Joaquin County and joined SDAP in 1999. His cases that have led to published decisions include People v. Rivera (2015) 233 Cal.App.4th 1085, People v. Crandell (2007) 40 Cal.4th 1301, and Juan H. v. Allen (9th Cir. 2005) 408 F.3d 1262. He is a co-author of three chapters in CEB books: “Writs in California State Courts” and “Felony Appeals” in California Criminal Law Procedure and Practice, as well as “Federal Habeas Corpus: Overview” in Appeals and Writs in Criminal Cases.
PATRICK McKENNA is a 2010 graduate of the University of San Diego School of Law. During law school, he spent one year as a law clerk with Appellate Defenders, Inc (ADI). Following graduation, he worked as a research clerk at the Santa Clara County Public Defenders Office. After being admitted to the State Bar, he moved into private practice, working as an attorney at Nolan, Armstrong & Barton, LLP in Palo Alto and as a panel attorney for both ADI and SDAP. He began working as a Staff Attorney with SDAP in June 2012.
NERISSA J. HUERTAS is a 2005 graduate of NYU School of Law, where she participated in the Capital Defender Clinic and the Juvenile/Criminal Defense Clinic, and she interned at the NAACP-LDF, the Brooklyn Legal Aid Society, and the Public Defender Service of D.C. Nerissa was a federal law clerk for the Immigration Unit of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Hon. Lawrence K. Karlton of the Eastern District of California. As the Reigle Human Rights Fellow at Justice Now, Nerissa co-authored law review articles on prison abuses in California’s women’s prisons. As the Robert L. Carter Fellow at The Opportunity Agenda, Nerissa drafted policy briefs on civil rights enforcement and immigration reform. She also provided support to the Immigrant Defense Project, counseling hotline callers on the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. She was a panel attorney and worked with A.J. Kutchins before joining SDAP as a Staff Attorney in January 2015.